The first is the complete chaos that ensues when the canal, little-publicized but the carrier of more traffic than any other such body in the world, becomes completely snarled on a foggy night, with hundreds of boats, small and large, blindly stumbling every which way within the crowded basin. Dramatic as that is, the other event affects our friend much more personally: an official of BADA, the Baltic Area Development Association, is found murdered in the aftermath of a champagne party. The unflappable Thatcher, whose acute observations are always spiced with a quiet humor, and who is more or less above the fray, falls naturally into the role of investigator.
Lathen has been chronicling the adventures of John Putnam Thatcher for a number of years, and his character has flourished as steadily as his economic fortunes. It's no small feat to tell a story based on business and finance and make it as suspenseful and dramatically satisfying as those set in more sanguinary settings, but Lathen does it with flair, as is attested by the large following she and Thatcher have gained.